From February 2-4, the 33rd annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering (Elko, NV) hosted over fifty poets and musicians, plus vendors and folklorists, and the works of dozens of traditional artists. The event celebrates the living heritage of working ranchers, cowboys, and cowgirls. Morning to night, songs and stories spilled out from the Elko Convention Center. Audiences browsed blankets, hats, and leather-tooled treasures at the Western Mercantile in the new Conference Center. Continue reading
The 2016 Portland Metro Folklife Survey is the fourth in a series of OFN’s regional surveys to identify and document folk and traditional artists in Oregon. We are grateful for funding from a Folk & Traditional Arts Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as for additional support from the Oregon Historical Society. Click on the links below to read reflection essays by folklorists Nancy Nusz, Douglas Manger, and Makaela Kroin.
“Folkcraft embodies shared knowledge, passed from the wellspring on to succeeding generations. As experience is gained the emerging folk artist becomes ever more adept at accomplishing the intricacies of the work. What sets folk artists apart? In my experience their “gentle fervor” is the distinguishing factor. How many times have I left an interview deeply moved, newly enlightened, or utterly transformed. With the emphasis on excellence, adherence to form (with room to grow), and honoring those who came before them, a model for universal living is at hand for all to benefit. It is these noble attributes that allow folkways to sustain from one generation to the next. Perhaps it is for these reasons, as well, that OFN’s Folklife Surveys have brought such a positive public response.”
We are currently accepting applications from master artists and their apprentices for our Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program (TAAP). One of the Oregon Folklife Network’s cornerstone programs, TAAP assists master artists to teach and pass on their living traditions to promising apprentices from the same cultural background. Master artists receive stipends to cover costs of focused, individualized training and a final public presentation. OFN hosts a biannual awards ceremony in Salem where legislators and government officials recognize master artists.
Download the application on our website and submit by March 1st.
Artists from a number of different traditions have participated in TAAP over the years. For a full list of participants, check out our new Oregon Culture Keepers Roster – just type “TAAP” into the keyword search to see the full list. 2016 recipients are tazhib artist Marjan Anvari, rawhide braider Jack Armstrong, charro Antonio Huerta, dentallium shell piece expert Roberta Kirk, bharathanatyam dancer Anita Menon, and santoor player Hossein Salehi.
OFN is honored to support these master artists in their efforts to keep and pass on their cultural traditions to the next generation. Keep your eye on our Vimeo and YouTube pages for upcoming interviews with these artists – and be sure to check out the interviews with some of our previous master artists while you wait!
Funding for TAAP comes from the National Endowment for the Arts Folk & Traditional Arts discipline and Oregon Arts Commission. The Oregon Community Foundation’s Fred W. Fields Fund provided further funding for our 2016-17 awardees. Additional support from the Oregon Historical Society and the University of Oregon makes this program possible.
By Brad McMullen
The Oregon Folklife Network is proud to announce six new 2016 Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program (TAAP) awardees! These extraordinary master traditional artists and culture keepers exhibit excellence in their abilities, and a passion to pass on their knowledge, skills, and expertise. TAAP provides a stipend to these master artists to teach a promising apprentice from their own community, Tribe, or cultural, religious, or occupational group.
This year’s TAAP teams will be working a range of traditional skills, from traditional rawhide braiding to dentalium shell piecework to Tazhib.
Marjan Anvari (Lake Oswego, OR) is a master of traditional Tazhib (gilding), Persian illumination patterns. She will be teaching her apprentice the finer points of this ancient cultural art, which involves adorning the margins of books with beautiful patterns of plants or geometrical shapes with gold as well as colors like azure, blue, green, vermilion, and turquoise.
Jack Armstrong (Lakeview, OR) is a cowboy and master rawhide braider. Armstrong will be working with his apprentice to create tightly and evenly braided gear and a variety of decorative “buttons.”
Jose Antonio Huerta (Springfield, OR) is a master of Mexican cowboy (charro) horseback rope work. This is his second TAAP award for which he will once again be teaching charrería (rope work and riding).
Roberta Kirk (Warm Springs, OR) is a master shell dress maker of the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation. For this second TAAP award, Kirk will be teaching her apprentice the specifics of dentalium (shell) piecework.
Hossein Salehi (Beaverton, OR), founder of the ArtMax Academy, is a master musician who plays the Santoor (trapezoid-shaped hammered dulcimer-like string musical instrument). Salehi will will be helping his apprentice to refine his musical skills.
We spent the summer with social media followers sharing our summer traditions – holiday celebrations, special places for ritual return, festival must-dos, and much more. You can see any of these great posts by searching #summerlore! We’re planning for more fun social media campaigns in the future, so be sure to follow us today and be on the lookout!
Join us in Eugene on the evening of November 16 and for the day on November 17 for the Oregon Migrations symposium, organized by the Oregon Historical Society, one of OFN’s operational partners, with Dr. Bob Bussel and Dr. Dan Tichenor of the University of Oregon. The program includes a wide range of scholars offering specific presentations in response to the broad theme of how inhabitants and newcomers have shaped Oregon and each other. It is completely free and open to the public! For a detailed schedule and location information, visit <http://ohs.org/events/oregon-migrations-day-2.cfm>.
By Anne Pryor
The Oregon Folklife Network partnered with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs’ Culture and Heritage Department and the Warm Springs K-8 Academy to run a pilot Folklife Field School for rising 8th graders in Warm Springs, Oregon. Anne Pryor was lead instructor with assistants Makaela Kroin and Emily Ridout of OFN, and collaborator Dana Smith of the CTWS Culture and Heritage Archives. During the first week, 11 students documented their family traditions and presented their findings to the Warm Springs community. The following week students visited the University of Oregon in Eugene, presented again to a campus community, and toured the university. Each student earned a UO Folklore undergraduate credit, starting them on their pathway to higher education. Their fieldwork and presentations will be deposited in the CTWS archives.
Funding for this project has come from the Oregon Cultural Trust and the UO Division of Equity and Inclusion along with generous in-kind donations from the CTWS K-8 Academy, UO Duck Store, Kah-Nee-Ta Resort, and the UO Many Nations Longhouse.
Makaela Kroin, OFN’s Program Coordinator, will be documenting OFN’s Traditional Arts Apprenticeships, curating an exhibit on music in the Columbia River Gorge, and co-coordinating our summer 2017 Folklife Fieldschool. Kroin is also serving as OFN’s emerging folklorist in the NEA-funded folklife survey of the Portland Metro counties, where she’ll be working alongside veteran folklorists Nancy Nusz and Douglas Manger. Besides working on the folklife survey, Kroin will continue to document OFN’s master artists for the Traditional Arts.
Kroin has a Bachelor’s Degree in Portuguese & Brazilian Studies from Smith College, a Master’s Degree in Information and Communication Science from Ball State University, and a Master’s Degree in Public Folklore from the University of Oregon. Kroin served as OFN’s Summer Folklore Fellow, co-coordinated OFN’s collaborative Folklife Fieldschool (read more above), and conducted videographic documentation of several master artists.
As part of her MA program, Kroin produced an exhibit for the OFN and a documentary highlighting the history and revitalization of hop growing in Oregon. That exhibit is now on permanent display at the Independence Heritage Museum, where it was featured in the 2016 Independence “Hops & Heritage Festival.” firstname.lastname@example.org
Alina Mansfield is OFN’s new Graduate Student Assistant, who will be working alongside Brad McMullen, who will be completing a second year as an OFN GSA. Mansfield is a second year Master’s student in Folklore. She graduated from UC Berkeley, where she designed her own Folklore and Mythology major. A contributor to the Encyclopedia of Women’s Folklore and Folklife, Mansfield is currently researching Mardi Gras traditions in Mobile, Alabama and Biloxi, Mississippi. She is an avid collector of supernatural memorates and is fascinated by contemporary legends, the occurrence of traditional tale types and motifs in television, the folklore of dreaming, and divination practices.
Good-bye Vanessa… We also extend our profound thanks to Vanessa Cutz, who volunteered at the OFN over the summer. Vanessa graduated with her masters in Folklore from the University of Oregon in 2016. We appreciate all your great work Vanessa!
In the spring of this year, folklorists Douglas Manger from Texas, and Joseph O’Connell from North Carolina, took to the highways and byways of Eastern Oregon to carry out OFN’s third year of our multi-year statewide folklife survey. Thanks to funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Oregon Historical Society, Douglas and Joe visited the Eastern Oregon counties of Union, Wallowa, Baker, Grant, Wheeler, Crook and Deschutes. Through this fieldwork, the OFN identifies and documents traditional artists who might later apply for our Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program or be recommended for the Oregon Culture Keepers Roster.
Douglas Manger has been working as a folklorist for twenty years. Early in his career, Manger served as director of the Northern Tier Cultural Alliance in Pennsylvania, where he documented folk artists and curated exhibits and other programs. Manger later managed the folk and traditional arts program at the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in Baltimore overseeing initiatives across nine states and jurisdictions. At Mid Atlantic, Manger project managed the award-winning publication, From Bridge to Boardwalk: An Audio Journey Across Maryland’s Eastern Shore. In 2007, Manger returned to his home state of Texas and founded HeritageWorks, which has been responsible for multi-year regional folklife field surveys in South and East Texas for the Institute of Texan Cultures in San Antonio, in Baton Rouge and vicinity for the Louisiana Folklife Program, in Eastern Oregon (Malheur and Harney counties in 2014; Deschutes, Crook, Baker, and Union counties, spring 2016) and the Portland Metro (fall 2016) for the Oregon Folklife Network.
Joseph O’Connell, who received an MA in Folklore from the University of Oregon in 2009, works in public folklore, public media, and independent music. After leaving Oregon, he joined the staff of Traditional Arts Indiana (TAI) as the program’s primary fieldworker. O’Connell led several region- and topic-driven survey projects at TAI, including the first extensive cultural documentation of Indiana’s architectural stone industry. Now living in Raleigh, North Carolina, O’Connell contributes to projects of the North Carolina Folklife Institute, local NPR affiliate WUNC-FM, and the folk-rock band Elephant Micah. He spent several weeks during April and May of 2016 working with Douglas Manger to document folk artists in Wallowa, Grant, and Wheeler counties. Continue reading